DENVER (CBS4) – An aggressive police response to an apparent hostage situation started in the morning in East Denver Friday and lasted well into the afternoon, with SWAT teams and dozens of officers surrounding a store on Colfax Avenue.
At about 10 a.m. someone fired a gun near Colfax and Glencoe and there was a report of a robbery in a Radio Shack in the strip mall there.
Initially two suspects were said to have entered the Radio Shack and took a hostage, identified as Christopher Nimerfroh by his mother, Melissa Nimerfroh.
“(My husband said) it seems like there’s a hostage situation at a Radio Shack and was asking me which one Chris worked at, so I called his ex-wife and she said, ‘That’s Chris,’ ” Melissa Nimerfroh said.
She said her son told her he thought he would die inside the store.
In the hours that followed dozens of officers armed with rifles could be seen going in and out through the Radio Shack door, which had been removed. The situation finally ended around 3:30 p.m. with two suspects taken into custody and the hostage unharmed.
One gunman was identified by friends and family to CBS4 as Taveuan Williams, 19. He sent out a picture from his cellphone to friends and family of him inside the store. They said they were constantly in contact with Williams during the situation.
Earnest Watson is Williams’ friend and spoke with him on the phone during the standoff.
“He didn’t intend to shoot, but when he saw the police officers everything just went haywire,” Watson said.
Messages were posted on Williams’ Facebook page all day long.
“He put his number on Facebook and told everybody, ‘I’m going through something serious, everybody calm me down,’ ” a friend told CBS4. “When I talked to him he was crying, he was upset and said, ‘I’m not coming out, just tell my family I love them. If I do come out I’m going to be shooting.’ ”
The friend said she wasn’t aware of any problems Williams might be going through.
“He’s a good kid.”
Four schools were on lockdown due to the situation. They were Palmer Elementary School, Teller Elementary School and Park Hill Elementary School. Montclair School of Academics & Enrichment was also on lockdown.
Several stores in the strip mall were evacuated as part of the police action, and some of Colfax Avenue was closed in the area. Police also closed off all of the smaller streets that head north and south across Colfax between 14th and 16th.
The following are images captured by CBS4 from the scene: